The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is looking into the death of three fin whales near Bella Bella on BC’s central coast.
The three carcasses were spotted Sunday on a beach near Bird Point, by a helicopter pilot on his way to a remote cabin.
Paul Cottrel with the DFO says a multiple death like this is extremely unusual.
“We just get one or two a year, and usually never in the same area like this, or on the same beach which is even more rare. So that’s why it’s definitely a very unique situation.”
He says all three whales were juvenile males, two of them likely younger than two-years-old.
Cause of death
Photos of the whales were posted by Heltsiuk First Nation Coastal Guardian Watchman Randy Carpenter, who believes the whales were chased ashore by transient Orcas.
But Cottrel says that doesn’t seem to be the case.
“We were also thinking the same thing initially, given there are three animals ashore. But typically transients will select one animal and focus on that animal.”
He says there were no bite marks on the carcasses, or any signs of boat strike either.
READ MORE: Dead whale floating in Burrard Inlet
Cottrel says the DFO conducted a necropsy, but found no obvious cause of death.
Fin whales are listed as threatened in Canada, and Cottrel says biologists are now working to determine whether there was any human cause to the deaths.
He says officials say they have taken samples from the carcasses, and hope to have results in the next two-three weeks.
Gallery: Fin whales wash up near Bella Bella (warning, images may be disturbing to some)